I’ve spent the last week or so reaching out to myriad people on LinkedIn. Since I don’t really know what I want to do, I opted for a scattershot approach. I searched for people who work in areas I find interesting—anywhere from sales to Native American outreach—and asked them each a different question. The results are below. (Any grammatical errors are theirs, since I’m just copying their answers from our LinkedIn chatbox.)
Erica Chang, Freelance Curriculum Developer
This question took a different format than the others since I asked it before I learned the most effective format for asking questions.
Q: What I’m really curious about is the title “Freelance Curriculum Developer.” What does that entail. For whom do you develop curriculum? And how did you come to that career in the first place?
A: At the moment, I am designing independent ESL programs and revising existing ones for my previous employer, but I am not working for them officially, hence freelance. I resigned from my previous teaching position but continued to work on curriculum from home. I have not yet done any projects with other clients though. It entails discussing program objectives, designing the curriculum, lesson plans, student worksheets, and any other teaching material needed. As classes begin, I have meetings with my employer and teachers for feedback on how the program is doing, and making adjustments as necessary.
Q: Any resources (besides actual teaching) you could point to for someone interested in this? Although it seems like an extension of a career in education, perhaps there’s something I could start looking into right now without having a job in education just yet.
A: I’m not sure if I can be of much help, since most of what I know comes from teaching experience and it is built off of existing curricula. I would say to do your research as there are plenty of resources online as well as in books. However, see if you can get experience perhaps as a teaching assistant. A lot of what is designed is based off of an understanding of how the classroom works and how learning and teaching take place.
An in-depth answer that points me in some good directions. This career is likely a long way down the road for me, but it’s nice to have the connection.
Madeleine Kearns, Writer/Reporter at National Review
Q: What’s the most important thing a young writer can do to improve their writing?
A: Best thing a young writer can do to improve their writing is write. Not being facetious. It really is! All best, M.
Honestly, I can’t be disappointed in this answer. It only confirms everything everyone else tells me. This holds more weight since it’s from someone with whose work I’m very familiar. Thanks, Madeleine.
Andrew Block, Admissions Director at preHIRED
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding sales?
A: Hey Joseph. Glad to help out man! Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten is “always be helping” and getting clarity. If you can do these two things you’ll win in sales. You should check out sciencebasedsales.io. We help people just like yourself figure out if software sales is the right fit for them. As well as sales in general. So let me know if you ever want to talk in more detail
I love this answer because it’s a sales pitch in itself. It’s also one that can be directly tied to the initial answer (always be helping). I haven’t had a chance to check out the website yet, but I’m excited to see what sorts of resources are on there. It’s also a great opportunity to follow up with further questions about the material on the website.
Christina Leone, Sales Representative at UniFirst Corporation
Q: What do you think the most important quality is in a successful salesperson?
A: Hi Joseph. knowing how to connect and build rapport is very important therefore, in my opinion, Communication is the most important quality in a successful salesperson. Listen to what your prospects are telling you. They should talk 60% …you 40%
I reached out to Christina specifically because she had just won sales rep of the month at her company. This is an edifying answer because I think I’m pretty good at establishing a connection right off the bat. I just hope I don’t overthink the amount I talk versus the amount the client talks.
So what’s next?
More connections, and more questions. I sent out a ton of connection requests and only heard back from a few. But I’ll keep trying and keep gathering information. So far, I like what I’m hearing. If I get any particularly good answers back, I’ll put them in this post. Wish me luck.